Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The End is Just the Beginning by Linda Fulkerson

Don’t you love memes for writers? I collect those cute, quirky, fun-to-share graphics that bundle a nugget of truth inside a lump of laughter. And not that long ago, I coined my own meme-worthy quote, “There’s more to writing a book than writing a book.” As soon as I blurted that phrase in the midst of a book marketing class I was teaching, I had to literally stop and Google it to see if it was original. No exact-match results displayed, so I later created a graphic, plastered my quote onto it, put my name as the author, and blasted it all over my social media profiles.

The truth inside my meme isn’t exactly hidden. There IS more to writing a book than writing a book. Much more.

Before an author types “The End” on the final page, he or she has hopefully begun working on the other part of writing—marketing. Many authors are surprised to learn that most books sell less than 200 copies, and sometimes half of those are purchased by the author. When you consider that statistic is derived from an average that includes best-selling authors, then the outlook for the rest of us appears, well … dismal.

In my book-marketing class, the very next slide displays hope. The reason most releases don’t break the 200-book sales barrier is lack of marketing. So, in order to beat the odds, one has to put in the necessary legwork to get the word out about new books. Then, I share the secrets the best-sellers use.

Publishing a pic of your book cover on Facebook and sending a few Tweets won’t cut it. The best thing an author can do to prepare for marketing his or her book is to begin building (and nurturing) an email list of people who have requested to hear from you because they are interested in you and your writing.

As Shannon mentioned on a recent blog post here, we recently launched a new small publishing company of clean/Christian fiction. One of our goals is to help authors develop their platforms, primarily their email lists, in order to ease the frustration when they discover there is much more to writing a book than writing a book.

There are many ways to build an author email list. I’ve had good success with Facebook contests. People love a chance to win, and readers love the chance to win free books. Get with some friends and do a group contest so participants can have a chance to win lots of books. Then each participant can promote the contest. Make sure the entrants understand they will be subscribed to all the author email lists by entering. You can manage such a contest by using a contest app or by keeping up with everything manually.

It is my hope to train beginning and intermediate authors so they’ll feel less stressed about the book-marketing end of the business and focus on writing great books.

Before an author types “The End” on the final page, he or she has hopefully begun working on the other part of writing—marketing. via @lindafulkerson #SeriouslyWrite


Linda Fulkerson became interested in writing while working as a copyeditor and typesetter at a small-town weekly newspaper. She has since been published in several magazines and newspapers, including a two-year stint as a sportswriter before working her way up to online editor for a mid-sized daily. Linda is the author of two novels and seven non-fiction books, four of which are coloring books for writers. She recently purchased the bulk of Mantle Rock Publishing’s backlist and acquired all of MRP’s future contracts. She, along with her business partner Shannon Vannatter, launched Scrivenings Press LLC on July 1, 2020.